‘The Slave Hunters’ star says he feels no pressure to live up to expectations
Judging from the star-studded cast fronting SBS’ new Monday and Tuesday night series, “Midas” looks like a shoo-in for success.
Then again, so did its predecessor “ATHENA: Goddess of War,” but high-profile heartthrobs like Jung Woo-sung and Cha Seung-won did not prove alluring enough to reel in top ratings for the Monday and Tuesday night series.
Ending one day earlier than planned, “ATHENA” passes on a burdensome baton to “Midas,” which like the action blockbuster, not only sports strong leads but also runs along a more serious vein than its musical rival, KBS’ “Dream High.”
At this point, it looks like television audiences are hankering for “Dream High’s” lighthearted song-and-dance numbers, but both “Midas” leads Jang Hyuk and Lee Min-jung are currently hot property and are largely successful in their careers.
The cast and crew of SBS’ new Monday and Tuesday night series “Midas” ― (from left to right) directors Kang Shin-hyo and Lee Chang min, stars Jang Hyuk, Kim Hee-ae, Lee Min-jung, No Min-woo ― attend the drama’s press conference on Monday in Seoul. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)
Veteran actor Jang Hyuk made waves as a ripped, ruthless hunter in KBS’ blockbuster hit “The Slave Hunters” last year, adding the cherry-on-top to a resume that sports 13 dramas and 11 films.
Lee Min-jung first nabbed the limelight when she starred in KBS’ popular “Boys Over Flowers” and then again in SBS’ “Smile, Dear” before cementing her status as an it-girl in the romantic flick “Cyrano Agency.”
Backing up the high profile cast is “All In” and “Prince of Legend” scriptwriter Choi Wan-gyu.
At the drama’s press conference on Monday, actress Lee sent a nod to Choi when she coyly said, “My character is betrayed by love but I am not sure if she will take revenge on him (Jang Hyuk’s lead) or if she will help him. It’s up to the scriptwriter.”
In what is a major departure from a golden track record chock full of rom-coms, Lee plays the disillusioned fiance to Jang’s slick Do-hyun, a fund manager-turned-lawyer who nabs the job of a lifetime working for a chaebol household.
Greed rears its ugly head when the family’s eldest daughter (played by veteran actress Kim Hee-ae) offers him a proposal he just can’t refuse, involving him in a high stakes game of power that threatens to transform him into a money-hungry monster.
Jang Hyuk cemented the cold-hearted image of his character when he described Do-hyun as “ambitious and loaded with desire” before quickly asserting that his character also possesses other facets.
Jang was also quick to state that he did not feel pressure to live up to his successful role in KBS’ “The Slave Hunters.”
“I know that may sound cocky, but characters and actors are not one and the same,” he explained. “This drama might do well, it might not. If I allowed myself to look back at ‘The Slave Hunters’ and try to differentiate my new role from that project then it might detract from my pure devotion to the art of acting. Back then I played Lee Dae-gil in ‘The Slave Hunters’ and now I am focusing on my role in ‘Midas.’”
So what kind of series will “Midas” be?
The preview reel that ran at the drama’s press conference promised an urban thriller with melodramatic plot twists in spades.
In what looks like a veritable cocktail of wealth, ambition, deception and seduction, the upcoming series will center on a family’s struggle to claim a major stake in the chaebol patriarch’s fortune.
Overseas interest in the series prior to tonight’s debut has been stupendous, with promotional events taking place in Singapore and Malaysia and Sony Pictures Entertainment Networks Asia purchasing the series.
“Midas” starts airing tonight on Mondays and Tuesdays at 9:55 p.m. on SBS.
By Jean Oh (email@example.com)